In the time of Umar, there was a certain manwho had grown so old that his daughter wouldfeed him milk and look after him like a child.
Umar said to that daughter, “There is no childalive today to compare with you in your dutiful-ness to your father.” She replied, “What you sayis true, but there is a difference between what Igive and what my father gave me. I may not fallshort in service to my father, but when my fatherraised and served me he used to tremble for mysafety and concern, while I serve my father andpray night and day asking God that he may die,so the trouble he causes me may end. If I serve myfather, where can I get that same trembling he hasfor me?” Umar said, “This woman is wiser thanUmar.” He meant, “I have judged by externals,while she speaks of the core.”Those who are truly wise penetrate into thecore of a thing and diagnose the truth of it. Godforbid that Umar was not apprised of the truthand secrets of things, but such was the way of theCompanions, that they criticized themselves andcommended others.There are many who lack the strength for“presence.” They find “absence” more agreeable.In the same way, brightness comes from the sunand illuminates the world, but if people stare at394VDISCOURSES OF RUMI
FIHI MA FIHIV395the sun’s orb all day it does them no good andtheir eyes become dazzled. It would be better forthem to become involved in some other task andleave the presence of the sun’s orb. Similarly, tomention tasty dishes in the presence of sick peo-ple encourages them to gain strength andappetite, but the actual consumption of thosedishes can do them harm.Therefore, trembling and passionate love arenecessary in the quest for God. Whoever does nottremble must wait upon the tremblers. No fruitever grows on the trunk of a tree, for trunks donot tremble. The tips of the branches tremble, andthe trunk supports the tips of the branches andthe fruit securely, even against the blow of an axe.Since the trembling of the tree trunk would end inruin, it is better for the trunk not to tremble. Itsuits the trunk to be quiet to better serve the trem-blers.Since the Amir’s name is Mu’in al-Din, he isnot ‘Ain al-Din (“Essence of the Faith”) becauseof the “M” added to the ‘Ain. “Any addition toperfection is a diminution.” The addition of that“M” is a diminution. In the same way, though a
sixth finger is an addition, still it is a diminution.Ahad (“One”) is perfection, and Ahmad is not yetin the state of perfection. When that “M” isremoved it becomes complete perfection. In otherwords, God comprehends all—whatever you addto God is a diminution. The number one is con-tained in all numbers, and without it no numbercould exist.Sayed Burhan al-Din was teaching, when a foolinterrupted him to say, “We need some wordswithout comparisons or likenesses.” The Sayedanswered, “Whoever has no likeness, come andlisten to words without likeness!”After all, you are a likeness of yourself. You arenot this body. The existence here is but a shadow
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